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Author Topic: PAR can LED conversion  (Read 404 times)

Brian Bolly

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PAR can LED conversion
« on: October 15, 2020, 01:45:11 pm »

Has anyone used a conversion for old school PAR cans that they liked and/or would recommend?

I'm aware there are some cheap LED fixtures that look like PAR cans.  But as old PAR cans are a dime a dozen (almost literally),recycling some old gear would be beneficial for the "green" aspect, and I have an application or two where the "look" of the fixtures is right but an LED conversion would be really nice.

If they're dimmable - either via DMX control or a standard dimmer - bonus points.  But it's not mandatory for this application.

I've seen a couple solutions, and this one looks interesting, although I've yet to explore cost:

https://hyliteledlighting.com/led-products/par-retrofit/

I've seen similar solutions that are VERY expensive, and also a couple DIY solutions, but didn't know if anyone had actually done it.
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Don T. Williams

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Re: PAR can LED conversion
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2020, 06:05:49 pm »

I had a customer that found EBay plastic bodied flat and thin (almost round) LED wash fixtures.  I didn't know the model number. He gutted polished PAR 64 cans and "installed" these inside.  He wanted the "look" of the polished PAR 64 but not the heat and gel issue.  I think he just used RTV adhesive to secure them in place and had power and DMX running through the hole in the bonnet.  Worked like a charm for his low output requirements.
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: PAR can LED conversion
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2020, 08:29:54 pm »

I have an application or two where the "look" of the fixtures is right but an LED conversion would be really nice.
Is the look of the can the only requirement? Or do you need comparable(to a halogen par) light output as well?

If it's just about the looks then mount some medium screw base receptacles in the cans and buy some of those single color LED floods from the lighting isle at Home Depot, you won't get the looks with LED efficiency for less $$.

If you also want comparable-to-halogen light output then those conversion kits won't suffice, a 50w white LED source is roughly equivalent to a 250w halogen bulb but colored LEDs produce less output, so at the bare minimum to replace the smallest p56 halogen par you need a 200w RGBW source for 50w/color.

Now for color mixing and dimming. IMO the second main benefit of LEDs is the ability to get multiple colors from a single fixture thus cutting the number of fixtures needed, and 3rd is onboard dimming. DMX decoder and LED driver boards are now available at low cost for a project like this, and I'd add wireless DMX if I was building a mobile rig just to minimize the number of cables needed at setup, and of course you then need a power supply for all these bits. All of this is small enough to pack into the end cap of a P56 but you have to factor in the time you spend assembling all this and compare it to what you can buy already built, I have sourced the fixtures below direct from China for under $100 ea.

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Mike Monte

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Re: PAR can LED conversion
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2020, 08:46:31 pm »

Has anyone used a conversion for old school PAR cans that they liked and/or would recommend?

I'm aware there are some cheap LED fixtures that look like PAR cans.  But as old PAR cans are a dime a dozen (almost literally),recycling some old gear would be beneficial for the "green" aspect, and I have an application or two where the "look" of the fixtures is right but an LED conversion would be really nice.

If they're dimmable - either via DMX control or a standard dimmer - bonus points.  But it's not mandatory for this application.

I've seen a couple solutions, and this one looks interesting, although I've yet to explore cost:

https://hyliteledlighting.com/led-products/par-retrofit/

I've seen similar solutions that are VERY expensive, and also a couple DIY solutions, but didn't know if anyone had actually done it.

I posed the same question (maybe on this forum?)a couple of weeks ago and received a response recommending to upgrade my par can bulbs to LED.
These: Cree 150W LED 40 degree Flood Bright White 3000K
I have a Par 38 can/dimmer packs/controller rig with 90 Halogen bulbs (16 cans total).
I went to Home Depot and picked up a bunch - and they work great.....  I think that they were $9.99 (or thereabouts) per bulb.

$160.00 to upgrade my lights was worth it to me. Purchasing a similar LED rig with a name brand would have cost me way over $1000.00....

They are way brighter than what I was using, not as hot, and now my lights use 304 watts as opposed to 1440 watts.

As far as looks go: Par cans look more "band" to me......  LED pucks look more DJ'ish to me.....   just-my-opinion
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: PAR can LED conversion
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2020, 09:05:47 pm »

I posed the same question (maybe on this forum?)a couple of weeks ago and received a response recommending to upgrade my par can bulbs to LED.

I was going to mention the same thread and that Steve G. has had good luck with this replacement.  Depending on Brian's Pars he might need to swap sockets too, but that will still be substantially cheaper than anything else worth its investment.  One of these days I'll probably try this with my existing inventory of 48 Pars 38s, but it's not exactly a priority right now...

In terms of a true conversion, if optics aren't a huge concern I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to part-out a modern LED "puck" and put the guts in an old Par 64 can.  I have some ADJ Mega Hex Pars that see use for truss lighting, eye candy, and other semi-disposable uses that would probably be a good candidate for this.  No fans, decently compact, and under $100 which keeps the experiment cheap enough should you choose to try it.  Granted they're no high-end replacement, but for a sub-$100 fixture they work well enough within their intended uses.  Let us know if you choose to try it!
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Steve Garris

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Re: PAR can LED conversion
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2020, 12:30:24 pm »



As far as looks go: Par cans look more "band" to me......  LED pucks look more DJ'ish to me.....   just-my-opinion

I work with a lot band guys that are on the same train of thought, and I kind of agree after spending 35 years around 1KW par 64's. I've given in to the plastic pucks though, because 4 of them are the weight of a single par 64 w/lamp. As I've gotten older, weight and ease of deployment really matters!

Same thing with sound. I lost a gig for a party with my SOS SRX system. The customer wanted large, old-school stacks of PA cabinets.

Very glad to here those Cree lights are working for you in your 38's. I love mine, but wish they could get just a little brighter.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 12:34:04 pm by Steve Garris »
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Tim Weaver

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Re: PAR can LED conversion
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2020, 06:29:17 pm »

I ran over a par can the other day on our outdoor lift just to see how squished it would get.



Pretty squished....






I have gathered all the par cans we have left and they will live out their days outdoors in a rodeo arena being used 3-4 times a year. When they die, they get thrown out. Maybe in a decade or 2 we'll have to buy some new lights for the arena.....
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Brian Bolly

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Re: PAR can LED conversion
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2020, 05:12:09 am »

Just getting back to this a week later...  ::)

Thanks for all the replies, folks.  The "donor" cans are the old school ceramic socket type, so you've pretty much confirmed my suspicions that, in some form, I'm probably left to DIY a solution (Home Depot or Chinese LED surgery) if I want to keep to a reasonable budget. 

As always, the insight and suggestions are appreciated.
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Mike Monte

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Re: PAR can LED conversion "subject swerve"
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2020, 09:32:53 am »

I work with a lot band guys that are on the same train of thought, and I kind of agree after spending 35 years around 1KW par 64's. I've given in to the plastic pucks though, because 4 of them are the weight of a single par 64 w/lamp. As I've gotten older, weight and ease of deployment really matters!

Same thing with sound. I lost a gig for a party with my SOS SRX system. The customer wanted large, old-school stacks of PA cabinets.

I've actually brought a double rig (two subs and two mid/high cabs per side and only powered 1/2 of them) to gigs and the bands had no clue.
Bigger is always Better.....right??
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Don T. Williams

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Re: PAR can LED conversion
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2020, 05:22:16 pm »

For some smaller events that need wide flat coverage, I have used K-array KR200 or 202 systems, sometimes with added subs.  Twice I've been ask when I was going to put speakers up on the "sticks" so the show could start.
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Re: PAR can LED conversion
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2020, 05:22:16 pm »


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